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YOUR GUIDE TO VOICE OVER IP
 

YOUR GUIDE TO VOICE OVER IP

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    YOUR GUIDE TO VOICE OVER IP YOUR GUIDE TO VOICE OVER IP Document Transcript

    • December 2008 VoIP YOUR GUIDE TO VOICE OVER IP
    • 2 An Advertising Supplement to USA Today VOIP VoIP comes of age largest market – in U.S. history. It’s the most tech-savvy and tech- demanding generation, too. Competition among service providers is fierce, which is also CONTENTS In most cases, people are using good for companies and con- Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has finally VoIP phone services to replace sumers. Service providers are 2 Foreword from TIA 4 What can VoIP do for me? come of age in the United States and broad their public switched telephone aggressively competing for your 4 Great savings and features availability of VoIP services could not have network (PSTN) service, while business. Chances are, if your some subscribers use VoIP to sup- company hasn’t already switched 5 Savings without the maintenance come at a better time. plement their traditional service, to a system that uses VoIP teleph- 5 TCO analysis especially for low-cost interna- ony, it will be doing so soon. 6 Features make grade for business tional calls. The quality of VoIP What’s important to remember 7 Staged migration to business VoIP calls made over managed net- about VoIP is it is dependent 8 Huge savings and quality works such as those used by cable upon broadband connectivity. TIA 8 High definition audio operators is quite good, and the will continue to work with the 10 Taking VoIP mobile calls are often nearly indistin- new Congress and the incoming 10 Small businesses think BIG guishable from PSTN calls. administration to develop a 11 Improved Conferencing Cost savings aside, in the long national broadband policy that run, convergence and consumer includes investment in rural 11 VoIP: Secure & reliable demands for new applications and broadband deployment as well as 12 Seamless switching features will drive growth. Millen- long-term research and develop- 13 VoIP at home nials – the generation born ment. This policy will help VoIP – 14 SIP Trunking between 1982 and 2001 - are driv- and all sectors of the ICT industry 14 Panel of Experts ing the shift from legacy technol- – realize their full potential. 15 Dealers play vital role in VoIP ogy. There are more than 75 mil- At TIA, we realize that this lion Millennials living in the Unit- technology isn’t just a game VOIP - A TITLE FROM TIA President Grant Seiffert ed States alone. To put it in per- changer, it’s a life changer, and we MEDIAPLANET spective, there are more Millenni- advocate for affordable, highly Publisher: Allan Chiu, During challenging economic Review and Forecast, the number als than Baby Boomers. It is the advanced and secure communica- +1 646 922 1404, times, it’s hard to look past the bot- of VoIP subscribers is expected to largest generation – and the tions services for all Americans. allan.chiu@mediaplanet.com tom line, and the simple fact is this: grow at a compound annual rate Editor: Sean Hargrave Print: Vertis Design: Jez MacBean VoIP saves money - for businesses of 20.2 percent through 2011, Photos: istockphoto.com and consumers. It also offers man- reaching 33.2 million. VoIP rev- Mediaplanet is the leading publisher ufacturers and service providers in enue has had a similar growth pat- of high quality and in-depth analysis the information and communica- tern, increasing from $25 million on topical industry and market issues, in print, online and broadcast. tions technology (ICT) industry in 2003 to $200 million in 2004, For more information about opportunities to grow their busi- $1.4 billion in 2005 and $5.0 bil- supplements in the daily press, nesses, in light of the current lion in 2007. Revenue is projected contact Kayvan Salmanpour on +1 646 922 1400 uncertain economic climate. to increase 19.2 percent on a com- According to research in TIA’s pound annual basis through 2011, www.mediaplanet.com 2008 Telecommunications Market reaching $10.0 billion.
    • When your company is on one network, it can be truly flexible. Expand, move or merge. And do it faster on a single IP network. Sprint Converged Solutions lets you access your voice, video and data instantly on one network, built end-to-end with technologies that have the Cisco Quality of Service Certification. So you have the flexibility to adapt to whatever the future brings. Get it on the Now Network.™ sprint.com/business
    • 4 An Advertising Supplement to USA Today VOIP What can VoIP do for me? have been routing calls through Internet Protocol (IP) networks for several years. “The quality is so good nowa- making calls across IP networks without even realizing.” So, for those that have been put off by VoIP in the past, the mes- Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) can mean dollars per month for an old-fash- days that you just don’t realize sage from Internet telephony ioned PBX box to route calls that a lot of the time some part of providers is that just as connec- different things to different people but essen- around their facilities who now your call is going across an IP net- tions have gotten faster, their tially the technology is proof that we are living are switching to making calls work,” he says. “In the earliest software and systems have in an exciting world of convergence where we across the Internet because it days of VoIP, dial-up connections improved to the point where, most means they only need a single net- just didn’t have the bandwidth to of the time, the only noticeable no longer need to have separate networks for work, rather than both a voice and handle calls well but now that difference with VoIP is the cost of voice and data. a data network. This brings cost broadband is so prevalent the the call and the extra features savings both in reduced mainte- quality is there and people are now available. Once this leap to a single network started to extend their offering to nance as well as the cost of calls. for handling both phone calls and allow users to make calls to regular data is made, businesses and con- telephones.Likewise there are mil- VoIP everywhere sumers not only get a whole new lions of people around the world Perhaps one of the most interesting host of features and services on with a regular-looking telephone things about VoIP is that even if their phone, but there are plenty plugged in to their broadband or you have never heard of the term of savings to be enjoyed too. cable internet connection who and were unaware that calls could There are several sides to VoIP, may not even realize the competi- be routed through broadband net- or internet telephony as it is often tive, all-inclusive deals they have works, you have almost certainly referred to. Many millions of peo- signed up to are provided by the used the technology without even ple are already signed up to make extra efficiency offered by VoIP. realizing it. As Ari Rabban, CEO of PC to PC calls through services At the other extreme, there are Phone.com explains, the large such as Skype which have now businesses paying thousands of telecommunications companies Great savings and replaced. However, with VoIP the an email attachment so you can ability to set up multiple exten- listen to them as an MP3. We’ve sions and to conference in several also recently offered a feature employees and clients can be pro- where you can have an answer vided for very little cost. message transcribed in to text so awesome features This is revolutionizing how you can read it as well as listen to small businesses can portray them- it and business owners can even selves to the outside world, claims type a message on their comput- Ari Rabban, CEO at Phone.com. er’s keyboard and have it turned “The company with just a handful in to an audio greeting when peo- Compared to conventional telephone systems, there are two major areas of employees or the plumber work- ple call them.” ing on the road all day have never So, while businesses and resi- where VoIP has a huge advantage – cost and features. been able to afford professional dential consumers may both be telephone services, but with VoIP attracted to VoIP by the cost bene- While residential customers are they can,” he assures. fit, companies have the extra lure probably most attracted to VoIP of obtaining the type of telephony by competitive call plans, busi- Extensions service that was way beyond their nesses can be lured to the technol- “You can set up extensions and reach with conventional ogy by the additional benefit of pass calls around them and you providers. Conversely, companies call features which have previous- never need to miss a call as you that have always been used to ly cost thousands of dollars. Tra- can tell the system to reach you having this level of telephony ditionally, the ability to forward anywhere. You can set up rules service are starting to question calls to multiple extensions within for when you want to receive why they should spend thousands a business required a PBX box calls and when you don’t and the of dollars on a new PBX system which needed to be wired in to the really amazing thing is, with when they could enjoy the same office’s phone system and there- voice being data, a VoIP provider level of quality and call features after maintained and periodically can send you your voicemails as for considerably less.
    • An Advertising Supplement to USA Today VOIP Savings without the maintenance that would otherwise disrupt communica- tions. Of course, the beauty of a hosted VoIP solution is that if staff can’t get in to the office, for whatever reason, they can While many claims can be made by VoIP providers over the One of the hot areas in corporate Ameri- just divert calls to their home numbers, a ca today is business continuity and, as one mobile phone or take and make calls on a cost of individual calls, one of the major cost benefits for can imagine, it is an area where there is a ‘soft’ phone through a computer wherever businesses comes with unifying voice and data. lot of interest in hosted VoIP solutions they are,” Canton adds. because a reputable host will have their When considering a hosted solution it Traditionally when they ran on separate set to be delivered. We’re certainly finding equipment stored in a highly secure facility makes good sense for a company to go networks, voice and data were handled by that our customers are reacting well to that will be about as disaster proof as is through the fine detail of the proposed different employees or, at least, separate being able to open up new offices and grow humanly possible. “When the convention- Service Level Agreement (SLA) to ensure third party providers. It is simple math without having to get the telephone guy to al telecommunications providers went the provider is delivering a phone service then to suggest that by routing voice over come in and set up all the wiring and con- down at Los Angeles International airport that will be at least as reliable as a conven- the data network, a company can reduce figure the PBX box. The other benefit of not during the July earthquake, our customer’s tional phone line. cost considerably. having to run your own telephone service is phones and Internet remained fully opera- Some companies switching to VoIP may that somebody else takes the service calls tional,” reveals Canton. want to simply replace their conventional for you. We estimate that the level of service “By hosting voice and data services in PBX with an IP router and keep their calls we answer on behalf of a customer secure data centers, we are able to provide switching equipment within their own saves them at least half the time of one of customers with a high degree of redundan- premises so they maintain full control over their employees.“ cy which protects them against disasters it. However, many are choosing to simply have much of the setup managed remotely by a host so they no longer need to concern themselves with ensuring their network is working well and up to date. Although they still need a switch and a router on their premises, the backbone of their system is sheltered within a secure data center, shel- tering it from human damage and the ele- ments. What’s more, hosted providers are also capable of managing their users’ net- works remotely, down to the switch level, thereby ensuring quality of service. This can save a lot of expense but it can also allow companies to expand quickly, explains Stephen Canton, CEO of hosted VoIP provider, iCore Networks. “A managed provider can have you up and running with multiple new users in just a matter of min- utes,” he explains. “You can be making calls from a laptop immediately on that new extension while you wait for the new hand-
    • 6 An Advertising Supplement to USA Today VOIP Features make the make and receive calls with a microphone and earpiece headset. cheaper than with conventional telephony. This ability is helping business transform as they need ment, it makes a small business look a lot larger,” he says. “Businesses also like the way grade for businesses Scale with speed Huw Rees, VP Sales and Market- ing at business VoIP provider 8x8 to grow or shrink rapidly. Compa- nies that have seasonality to them or find they get busy cycles can they can just click on a contact in the Outlook contacts on their PC to make a VoIP call and where Most businesses are probably aware that they believes there are a multitude of ramp up how many people they they are truly finding VoIP a features which transform the way have on extensions and then rest transforming force is with CRM. could save money through switching to a VoIP companies do business, particu- those extensions so they’re not When voice calls are data you can provider but many may well be unaware of the larly those relating to multiple switched off but are ready to be do many clever things, such as calling features that accompany the transition. extensions. In the past multiple reactivated when they’re needed integrate incoming calls with a numbers or extension would have again.” package such as salesforce.com. With VoIP, voice is carried across their work number. Instead they cost a fortune but now they are According to Rees the most This allows business customers to digital IP networks and so voice- can travel the world, or even stay readily affordable. popular business feature among know who is calling and have the mail messages can be stored as at home, and simply plug in their “A great example of multiple the small and medium enterprise relevant information about them audio files. This means voicemail VoIP telephone on an Internet lines and extensions are real is the auto attendant, although up on screen the moment the call messages can be emailed to the connection and they are instantly estate companies,” Rees points contact management and cus- is taken. It means your staff can recipient, just like any other data available on their office number. out. “You’ll often see a board out- tomer relationship management be much more helpful and they file, allowing them to be picked up Alternatively, to save on carrying side a house with a telephone features are also proving transfor- start off the call in a warm way wherever they have internet a handset around, they can simply number, you call it and you get mative. instead of asking lots of personal access. use a 'soft phone' on a laptop. This the audio description for that “Businesses love having an details. Businesses who try this Furthermore, employees no is essentially a piece of software house. With VoIP, it is very easy to auto attendant answer the phone say their clients are amazed by it, longer need to be at their desk to which turns the laptop into their set up multiple numbers (“virtual and allow customers to dial an it truly revolutionizes how busi- pick up calls and voicemails on VoIP phone, allowing them to extensions”) very quickly and far option for each person or depart- nesses interact with their clients.” Hosted PBX | IP Trunking | Hosted Call Center | Single Line Business | Hosted Key System Recession-Proof Your Business Switch to Packet8 Business Phone Service and Save 50% or More on Your Monthly Phone Bill In this tough economic environment, businesses everywhere are looking at ways to trim expenses. Packet8 Business Phone Service is helping more than 13,500 companies stay afloat and competitive with cost-effective, feature-rich phone solutions for businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re a large enterprise with a legacy PBX phone system or a small company just starting up, Packet8 has a solution that will immediately and dramatically reduce your telecommunications overhead. Switch today and save! Find the solution that best fits your business at http://Business.Packet8.net or 1.866.408.6452 © 2008 All rights reserved.
    • An Advertising Supplement to USA Today 7 VOIP Evolution rather than revolution can make business sense be companies that have several offer to plug a card or a box into space and don’t have to think Switching to VoIP is not a decision a business offices that are most interested in that digital PBX that will allow it about the equipment.” should take lightly. Handsets that work and VoIP because they realize that to work with VoIP,” Stein. So, while the cost savings and provide good quality calls are so vital to busi- they can route calls between their “Often companies have worked features which VoIP brings are facilities on their own network with a particular PBX manufac- attractive to businesses, many will nesses that a good phone system is, quite right- and see large cost savings.” turer for years and are happy understandably want to proceed ly, taken for granted within most companies. with the service and they know with an element of caution, pre- Step by step how it works, so they don’t want ferring to migrate in stages rather So, changing something which most businesses are discovering For this approach, service to switch. So it’s helpful to be than take one massive leap. has usually worked without VoIP through some proverbial ‘toe providers need to be flexible. able to add VoIP to what they many problems to take advan- dipping’. “When you spend a lot While an individual telecommu- have. Then, when things work tage of the cost savings and of time with business customers, nications consultant may be well, we find that customers are many call and data features you see that they are very inter- aware of the quality and reliabili- often ready to install an IP PBX offered by VoIP can seem daunt- ested in VoIP but they want to try ty of VoIP, business concerns need and commit to VoIP fully. ing for companies. For this rea- it out in some capacity before they to be listened to, and so a roll out Sometimes they like to son, the best practice can often decide to move their entire busi- one step at a time is usually what keep the equipment on be to take it one step at a time. ness to IP telephony,” he says. most clients will require. their premises, so they According to Rick Stein, Execu- “We find that a lot of companies “Customers have usually put a maintain control, or some- tive Director of Voice Networking start off by routing their internal lot of investment in their existing times they prefer a hosted Product Management at AT&T, calls through VoIP. So it tends to PBX system so it helps if you can solution where they save office AT&T knows a lot about VoIP. So you don’t have to. VoIP from AT&T Let AT&T simplify your transition to VoIP. We have the expertise to help enterprise customers unravel the complexity of VoIP, enabling you to get the most out of convergence, no matter what your stage of readiness. Visit att.com/voip today and change your game.
    • 8 An Advertising Supplement to USA Today VOIP VoIP technology has changed the Long Distance Game Remember the days when an overseas call was so expensive There are different options available for benefit from lower costs as the savings are accessing VoIP services and enjoying savings passed on to them, even for calls that termi- you only spoke on special occasions? Now rates are only on international calls. Consumers can choose nate on a conventional, analog telephone pennies a minute. What has changed? VoIP technology. a VoIP company to be their telephone line. In addition, VoIP services often include provider (that company may refer to VoIP as sophisticated and customizable features that ‘digital telephony’) or they can buy a calling are not available with traditional phone VoIP technology routes calls using the the form of lower rates and enhanced serv- card which utilizes VoIP to carry the calls. The plans. IDT utilizes VoIP technology to deliver Internet. Using VoIP, carriers can route the ices not offered with traditional phone serv- consumer may not know which technology is home phone and calling card services, web- calls at a fraction of the cost they used to ice. VoIP technology has opened the door to being used. What they do appreciate are the based phone services and wholesale termina- pay with traditional phone networks. Con- new competitors, such as cable operators, lower rates they are paying. This has allowed tion for cable operators and global carriers.” sumers and businesses who make interna- who now offer digital phone service, friends and families to stay in touch more fre- When considering their options, consumers tional calls reap the benefits. employing VoIP technology over broad- quently. Lower international rates have also should not be concerned about call quality. Telecommunication providers have band connections, as part of triple play facilitated global trade for small and medium Today’s VoIP networks provide call quality passed their savings along to consumers in packages. sized businesses, allowing them to reach out that is as good as analog telephony. “In the to new suppliers and customers worldwide. very early days of VoIP, there were concerns Consumers who choose a VoIP provider for about quality but today the quality is excel- their home phone service can now get unlim- lent,” Srinivasan says. In fact, the quality may Partner with a VoIP Pioneer ited calls throughout North America for sig- nificantly less than they are paying for tradi- exceed current expectations since broadband technology offers extra bandwidth which can tional domestic phone service. Additionally, significantly improve audio quality.” Providing high quality and reliable they get very attractive international rates. VoIP technology has changed the way con- According to Sant Srinivasan, VP of Prod- sumers and businesses connect globally. As VoIP solutions to consumers, businesses uct Management at IDT, “Routing calls VoIP technology evolves, additional capabili- and carriers worldwide since 1996. through broadband is more cost-effective for ties and features, including video communica- the VoIP carrier. Consumers and businesses tion, will be accessible for callers worldwide. Your source for: Wholesale International Termination High definition audio revolution Cable Telephony for MSOs There are constant improve- and bass notes are far more detailed and Residential Digital Phone Service ments being made to VoIP sound far more like real life. For the new HD technology to work, both the caller and the Global Calling Cards communications systems but recipient of the call need to have HD com- the one which end users are patible phones and the network routing the call also needs to support the technology. For partnership opportunities, soon likely to notice the most Already, there are many VoIP handsets email us at voipsolutions@idt.net is high (HD) definition audio. being shipped today that are capable of Visit us on the Web: supporting HD quality calls and IP net- www.idt.net People have long grown used to the tele- works are constantly improving. There- www.net2phone.com NYSE: IDT phones not fully capturing the voice of the fore, industry insiders do not believe it person they are speaking to but there are will be long until VoIP providers begin already VoIP handsets being shipped that offering customers audio quality which support CD quality audio. This doubles the goes way beyond their normal experience IDT Corporation • 520 Broad Street • Newark NJ 07102 An IDT company ‘response’ of a traditional analog call so high on the phone.
    • 10 An Advertising Supplement to USA Today VOIP Small companies can sound big One of the major advances that VoIP offers “I used to run a consulting firm with six companies is the ability for small and medium other consultants and VoIP allowed us to work businesses to think big. remotely with a virtual operator putting calls With a phone number that follows you any- through to each of us. We were able to look like where around the world and the capability to a much bigger organization and it was all have a virtual receptionist that greets cus- thanks to VoIP giving us the flexibility to work tomers and direct calls, VoIP allows companies outside of the normal office set up.” to “look big and act big” as Todd Curry, VP Therefore, Curry believes, VoIP technology Marketing at ifbyphone, puts it. is allowing companies to take advantage of a Taking VoIP mobile "VoIP obviously gives you savings but it can really transform a business where someone is often on the road and needs to have calls pro- fessionally answered and routed to wherever telephone system (which they have previously considered way beyond their means), as an option that not only reduces their bills but makes them appear as a far larger, more profes- they are," he says. sional organization. Sending voice calls across the Internet makes for great savings but it normally comes with the stipulation that there needs to be an Internet connection available. This is becoming less of a problem as States, Arena plans to offer this service Wi-Fi hot spots are rolled out around globally next year. the globe. Wi-Fi hot spots allow those “With a global SIM card, you will be with ‘soft’ phones on their laptops or a able to roam abroad on your mobile and smart phone with Wi-Fi capability to only be charged the same rate as the local route calls from their mobile device callers around you using their cell- across the wireless Internet. The result phones,” he says. is free calls or, or at least, immense sav- “You won’t get hit with a huge bill for ings when compared to the cost of using roaming. You’ll just pay whatever the a mobile phone network, particularly if normal rate for a mobile call is in that roaming abroad. country. So you’ll probably be paying 30 cents instead of a couple of dollars per Out and about minute. It’s designed for those people that The obvious problem occurs when a want to be able to use their mobile to call person does not have a Wi-Fi hot spot, while on holiday or working abroad with- and thus will be solely reliant on their out dreading a huge bill at the end of it.” mobile phone. At the moment, Arena believes that According to Paul Arena, Chairman VoIP has had a huge impact on mobility, and CEO of i2Telecom, VoIP could still but this has mainly been restricted to Wi- hold the answer. His company has Fi hot spots. He claims the next step is to already launched a service called take the cost savings of VoIP beyond Wi- MyGlobalTalk, where mobile phone Fi and extend it to mobile networks. owners can dial a code before the Although the first part of the call will desired number. Although the call is always be handled by the mobile compa- initiated on the mobile network, the rest ny, and so be relatively expensive, the of the journey is then routed through IP. savings of passing the majority of the rest While this service is initially planned to of the call over VoIP can still result in a cut the cost of calls within the United cheaper service for cellular users.
    • An Advertising Supplement to USA Today 11 VOIP Video/call conferencing VOIP ADVANCES MAKE IT SECURE AND RELIABLE VoIP has come an incredibly long way since the 1990s when narrowband revolutionized by VoIP connections meant there was sometimes a question mark over quality. Now that broadband is widely available and VoIP hardware and software has improved, many people who do not have a VoIP service will be surprised to find that the quality is so good that many of their calls are routed over Companies across the world are always looking ing is sufficient. Again, VoIP is mak- VoIP networks anyway by the major carriers without them noticing. ing a huge difference here. One area that has always been a concern for companies considering at ways for their employees to become more In the early days, audio confer- investing in a VoIP network is security. Telephone calls are not traditionally productive and flexible. At the same time, the encing could not only be costly to something the average business feels they need to protect but as soon as current economic climate is forcing many man- set up (either in the office or those calls are routed on data networks there is cause for potential concern. through a provider), but it also However, Dominique Kull, CTO and founder at VoIP business solutions agers to look for ways for their businesses to could lead to large phone bills for provider Taridium, points out the beauty of a joint network is that the same become even more efficient than ever before. companies as employees dialed in protection given to data need simply be widened to encompass voice. from around the world. “Phones were never completely secure in the first place because any wire VoIP is set to play a crucial role in enced before. Early versions of video VoIP has helped by bringing can be tapped so it’s not right to suggest that VoIP is any less safe just aligning these two objectives conferencing were expensive to set down the cost of audio conferenc- because it’s digital,” he insists. because not only can the technology up and the costs to run them pre- ing setup but, just as importantly, it “What you need to do is realize that voice is now being carried on the bring new calling advantages to vented many businesses from quick- has made a huge difference by same network as your data and so you need to give it the same protection. businesses, it is also less costly than ly adopting the technology. Today, slashing the cost of long distance You need to make your servers secure and you need to set up a virtual pri- previous communications solutions. broadband bandwidth has come and international calls. Instead of a vate network, a VPN, to ensure it’s safe from eavesdroppers. Enter the VoIP Video and Call Con- down significantly in price and there business paying a couple of dollars One area where Kull does believe there is a need for businesses to realize a ferencing Revolution. With new are technology alternatives to turn to per minute or more for each inter- potential limit on VoIP’s capabilities is the simple fact the service they get is advancements made in conferenc- that quite frankly, don’t require any national colleague joining a call, directly related to the bandwidth they have. ing technology and the ability for hardware besides a computer with a they can instead today pay just a “Bandwidth can be a serious issue, a business has to realize that if it VoIP to combine voice and data, set- video feed or webcam. few cents, or even less. wants a lot of people to make calls outside its offices then it needs to invest ting up both audio and video con- Of course, this is only the entry The beauty of VoIP is that in sufficient, good quality bandwidth to handle their needs,” he says. ference calls are now far simpler and level for VoIP video conferencing although the cost savings are “The good thing is the cost of bandwidth is coming down and there are more cost effective than in the past. and only suitable for those who always attractive, one must never good providers out there but the sayings are true, you really do only get With the benefit of allowing mul- don’t mind seeing video within a forget about the extra call features what you pay for. So you need to really look at the service level agreement tiple parties in different geographic small frame on their computer. As that can be offered once data and too to make sure you’re being guaranteed a reliable service.” locations to feel like they are in the with any technology, there are many voice travel on the same IP network. The good news for companies considering VoIP is that the networking same room, business travel can be upgrade options from this entry level There are already some interesting equipment is essentially the same servers which drive the internet and so reduced significantly and executives which will provide better quality exploratory services investigating they are built to be very reliable and the code that allows voice to travel can commit more time to running cameras and equipment that trans- how VoIP can remind callers ahead down data networks has radically improved. In the past, parts of a conversa- their department rather than feeling mit and receive in various qualities, of time to join a call. If a party fails tion, or ‘packets’, had a tendency to arrive out of sync with the rest of the that they are always at an airport in right up to high definition (HD) to show up, the call organizer can conversation which made it very confusing. This has now been eradicated by between meetings. And what’s video. Of course, companies do not simply press a button on their com- reputable suppliers utilizing VoIP software which prioritizes voice traffic on interesting is that all of this can hap- always feel they need employees to puter or smart phone to inform that the data network and ensures it arrives without delay in the right order. pen at a higher quality than experi- use video and that audio conferenc- person that they need to dial in.
    • 12 An Advertising Supplement to USA Today VOIP Seamless switching be concerned how the call is rout- ed because the networks’ modern hardware and software work seamlessly with earlier networks It is this quality issue which Reznik believes should be front of mind when companies explore VoIP. “There are a lot of very gives highest quality so there is no noticeable change in cheap deals out there but I would quality. always advise people to look at “The quality in the switching of the track record of whoever calls between an IP network and they’re considering opting for,” the existing PSTN network is now she urges. “There are some good Within just two decades, VoIP has developed from a technology that so good you’d have no idea the newcomers, don’t get me wrong, allowed the net-savvy to talk from one PC to another, to a global call had been passed from one but I think businesses need to network to the other,” she says. consider the experience compa- telecommunications system which enterprises and residential customers “The call might originate on an nies have in providing a quality use every day from either a PC or a standard telephone. IP network and go as far as it can service before signing up to a on a VoIP network until it needs VoIP provider. “ Looking at business VoIP, there With what looks like a regular going further afield are likely to to connect with the PSTN to travel are several parts to every call. The phone, customers can then go across the traditional PSTN to the other area or country or go Bright future first element is, of course the tele- make calls anywhere in the networks as well. abroad. When it gets there it With high quality calling now phone, which will have an IP world, via the IP PBX in their might carry on and terminate on available, Reznik believes VoIP address assigned to it before it is office or perhaps through a No need to worry the local PSTN or it might be has a bright future ahead of it plugged in to the IP network. This hosted solution. Although calls The beauty is that, according to switched back in to an IP network because people need data and address, or number, follows that between office colleagues will Alla Reznik, Director of Advanced for the final leg of its call, depend- they can’t communicate without phone around, wherever it is almost certainly simply travel Voice Services at Verizon, “neither ing on how the recipient’s phone voice, so to have the two unified is plugged in to an IP network. along a local IP network, those person on the call would need to system is set up.” a very strong proposition.
    • An Advertising Supplement to USA Today 13 VOIP Savings and features for residential There is a clear price advantage which is need it because my home Vonage can take it with you and use it the initial interest in VoIP will number follows me around, which pretty much anywhere in the normally come through a house- attracting American homeowners to switch it does. When someone dials my world where you have a broad- hold wishing to save money. from their conventional telephone provider Vonage line, it can ring up to five band connection. It means you to VoIP but there are also many feature other phones at the same time.” can keep that same number for Save money life and not change when you VoIP providers are reporting that, advantages that further build the case for Calls abroad move. You can also take it with in the current economic climate, VoIP use. “Another great feature you you on business anywhere in the many residential customers are can’t get with conventional world and make calls that are free looking at their monthly out- While paying around $25 a month tive Director of Device Develop- telephony is if someone is abroad or minimal cost and way cheaper bound calls and realizing that to get unlimited long distance and ment at Vonage believes that or calling long distance they can than using your mobile phone and they could save money on their international calls is obviously a voicemail, ‘find me’ services, and often dial a local code and then paying roaming charges.” phone bill and have their unlimit- great attraction, VoIP connections the flexibility of number portabil- have the call routed via the Net so ed calls to Europe and beyond for also have many of those ‘how did I ity are features residential cus- they only pay the cost of a local Low cost the same monthly fee they are ever get by before’ features which tomers immediately take to. “My call in their country when calling Although added features help paying now, or even less. In fact, simply cannot be offered by con- son had to give one number to his a Vonage line. Then there’s the retain customers and make them Grikas estimates that the average ventional telephone systems. teacher,” she says. “The teacher portability. If you have an adaptor wonder what they did during the household could save around Although there are many to wanted an office and cell number which plugs in the phone socket days of using analog telephone $300 per year by switching their choose from, Mary Grikas, Execu- too and he just said she didn’t for your home VoIP number you lines, the economic reality is that number to Internet telephony.
    • 14 An Advertising Supplement to USA Today VOIP Ask the experts What are the main bene- fits for residential cus- tomers from VoIP? “In the current economy, everyone is looking for If VoIP is so saging, as well as IP-enabled audio, web and ways to save and every great, why are videoconferencing. Furthermore, with fixed dollar counts. VoIP cus- some companies mobile convergence, mobility is introduced Mary Grikas, tomers typically reduce not investing in to these services making them available vir- Executive Director monthly phone bills and SIP TRUNKING it? tually anywhere, anytime. When imple- of Device Devel- can save hundreds of dol- VoIP has many advantages but the one problem menting a VoIP solution, the business opment, Vonage lars per year when switch- it can bring is that if a network is not properly set “The problem is owner/IT manager should recognize that ing from a landline phone up to handle voice calls, quality can be reduced. that some com- their solution will evolve over time and they service. VoIP also often includes additional fea- It is for this reason that David Byrd, VP Mar- panies may not should look for a service partner who is tures that landline providers will often charge keting and Sales at Broadvox believes companies Robert Messer, Presi- realize the flexible and willing to work with them and for, such as caller ID, call forwarding and three- should take an active role in researching the net- dent, ABP Technology power of VoIP the various technology partners that will be way calling. “VoIP can also provide local and work their potential VoIP provider is suggesting because the part of a comprehensive VoIP solution.” long distance calling for a fraction of the they use and ensure it features SIP (Session Initi- known telecom manufactures prefer to price of a landline provider and eliminates ation Protocol) Trunking. sell legacy equipment where they make VoIP is linked with the need to count minutes when calling “With SIP Trunking you get a network that higher margins. Also the IT and IP solu- many call feature your loved ones. Additionally, VoIP routes calls not through the public internet but tion resellers don’t sell known brands advances but do providers often have international rates that on an IP network that is prioritized for voice,” he because in the world of VoIP the most you think there are are far lower than a landline service. As says. “It means that voice is prioritized above effective solutions are “Best of Breed” huge benefits broadband services become more wide- accompanying data, such as peoples’ presence Vendor Independent Open Standards beyond just price spread, VoIP will continue to grow and status or ‘follow me’ instructions for services based solutions. The leaders are all new and features? become more mainstream with users.” that ring different numbers to locate them. It brands and customers are not used to means that calls are the best possible quality. buying phone systems that way. “The price and fea- Are there benefits You can even set it up so individual users within “There’s also been far too much concen- Stephen Canton, CEO, ture wars between in both maintaining that business can be prioritized over others.” tration on price. VoIP solution providers iCore Networks VoIP Providers your own equip- According to Byrd, although price and fea- need to stop focusing on price and high- have been fought. ment in your prem- tures are important, the best question any busi- light the killer applications, such as In this day and age, virtually all VoIP ises as well a hosted ness considering switching to VoIP can pose is telecommuting, find-me and integration providers offer their users feature-rich plans solution? whether that provider uses SIP Trunking or does with CRM systems that offer companies at a reasonable price. However, in the busi- it rely on the public internet? tremendous productivity boosts.” ness sector, VoIP—particularly the hosted Both have strengths kind—offers benefits that are critical to the and disadvantages, What in your success of any venture. Among these addi- Chris Lyman, CEO which is why this experience are tional benefits lie the business continuity Fonality argument will rage the key drivers and disaster recovery that are inherent in the on. Premise is more for people design of a hosted VoIP solution. By treating reliable and secure—it lets you mix VoIP with switching to voice as a service, companies can add multi- good ol’ POTS (the thing birds sit on). Howev- VoIP? ple layers of redundancy to their voice net- er, premise is expensive and chains employees work that were previously unavailable. On a to their office. Hosted is less secure and reli- “After much hosted platform, users can remotely man- able (as it uses only newfangled VoIP). But speculation and age their phone settings online to ensure you save money and have complete mobility Dan Dooley, President of hype, Voice over that incoming calls are routed and – where you have Internet you have phone Wireline, Sprint IP (VoIP) has answered in time and properly. For service. At Fonality, we looked at the pros become a main- instance, in the case of a natural disaster or and cons of each model and decided to split stream technology. While initial deploy- loss of power, rather than remaining with- the difference. We designed a “hybrid-host- ments focused on cost savings and simpli- out phone access, hosted VoIP users can use ed" architecture. Half our solution sits on fying network management, VoIP is on online applications to develop call routing premise—we send customers a Dell server. the verge of encompassing an array of plans that will direct their incoming calls to This allows them to always make reliable related services, building upon a common, an alternative means of communication calls. The other half is “hosted" at our data flexible IP foundation. It can extend into like a mobile phone or another office not center, so employees have free calling when other applications such as integrated mes- affected by the natural disaster.” they go home or hit the road.
    • An Advertising Supplement to USA Today 15 VOIP Dealers play vital role in the VoIP revolution voice and data networks and rout- Mention the word Internet and there is a natu- ing calls over the net, Messer cau- ral inclination to link the channel with going tions that the industry still needs direct to a service provider and, much of the to retail its quality, open source products at sensible prices to time, that has also been the case with VoIP. energize dealer networks. “There customers and service providers are a lot of security and network could well be missing an impor- issues surrounding VoIP and the tant point. “We made a conscious reseller is a very important decision not to sell our equipment resource for companies to go to direct but to instead go through for advice,” he says. “I truly the reseller channel,” he says. believe that for premium, open “The main point is that you source VoIP equipment there need resellers to be selling VoIP, should always be enough of a otherwise what’s going to hap- margin for dealers and, at the pen? If a business goes to see same time, the customer can also their local dealer and asks them get great long term value and sav- what should they replace their ings. I think that when some busi- equipment with or how can they nesses look at some of the offers upgrade, what’s the dealer going out there that look too good to be to say? He’s going to sell what he true, they’ll decide that, actually, sells. If he’s not selling VoIP, they are too good to be true. Cus- then VoIP won’t get sold; it’s that tomers are clever, they know they simple.” need the right advice and they With so many very low cost Inter- need to pay for quality.” net telephony companies compet- Tight margins Without dealers advising cus- ing for margins on calls, it may The problem, of course, of going tomers on VoIP solutions, Messer seem that the days of purchasing through the reseller channel is believes many are going for pack- equipment and seeking advice from that there needs to be a margin for ages that are not ideal for them. an independent dealer are over. the dealer and so this does not Customers who have a lot of tion because routing those inter- ported VoIP dealers around the However, Robert Messer, Presi- always fit in with the public’s per- internal calls within their offices nal calls out of the building over country, the range of open source dent of ABP Technology believes ception that VoIP can be enjoyed may well be better off going for a the net and back in again can options available to businesses the VoIP industry, in its drive to for very little cost. While there managed, on-site VoIP solution place an unnecessary demand on may not always be presented create a direct channel between are savings inherent in combining instead of a remotely, hosted solu- bandwidth. Without well-sup- them, Messer warns.